Cause & Care
CAUSE & CARE
In the last ten years, extensive research has demonstrated that periodontal disease involves a complex interaction between bacterial plaque and the patient’s immune system. This determines the severity and rate of progression of periodontal disease. Some people are fortunate and have a high resistance to bacterial plaque and demonstrate little or no periodontal disease even with large amounts of plaque. Less fortunate individuals can demonstrate severe periodontal disease at an early age with minimal plaque.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different risk factors. The most common ones are listed below:
Periodontal Disease & Tobacco
Current studies have now linked periodontal disease with tobacco usage. Smokers generally have more severe periodontal disease than non-smokers. There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth as well as greater loss of the bone and fibers that hold teeth in your mouth.
Other oral problems caused by tobacco include:
- Cancer (especially the use of smokeless tobacco products)
- Mouth sores
- Gum recession
- Loss of bone and teeth
- Bad breath
- Tooth staining
- Less success with periodontal treatment and dental implants
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. If the disease is caught very early (when it is gingivitis), and no damage has been done, you may simply be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene. If treatment is necessary, it usually involves a special cleaning, called scaling and root planing. This procedure removes plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. This helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink, which makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces. This is referred to as “periodontal” or “deep cleaning” and may take more than one visit.
Diabetes & Oral Health
Individuals suffering from diabetes, especially uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetics, have a higher risk of developing bacterial infections of the mouth. These infections may impair your ability to process insulin, resulting in greater difficulty with controlling your diabetes. Periodontal diseases will be more severe than those of a non-diabetic and treatment more difficult. Fortunately, well-controlled diabetics usually respond similarly to non-diabetics.
It is very critical for diabetics to control all sources of infection. Uncontrolled periodontal disease, which is an active infection, can often lead to unstable diabetes.
Steps to prevent periodontal disease include daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque from your teeth and gums, regular dental visits for professional cleaning, and regular periodontal evaluation. And finally, you can help resist periodontal infection by maintaining control of your blood sugar levels.
Women & Periodontal Health
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral health. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, oral contraception and menopause can cause fluctuations in hormone levels which impact oral tissues.
Recent studies have shown that up to 30% of the population may be more susceptible to periodontal disease.
Despite aggressive oral care habits, people with a genetic pre-disposition may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease.
Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and some heart medicines, can affect your oral health. This can range from enlargement of the gums, dry mouth and increased sensitivity. Be sure to advise us of all medications you are taking to help us individualize your treatment needs.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which the periodontal tissues are destroyed. Many people are totally unaware they are doing this, as it usually occurs during sleep or subconsciously during times of stress.
Although not well defined, it is known that long-term stress has a negative affect on our immune system and our ability to fight periodontal disease.
A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease is a chronic infection, studies have shown that poor nutrition can result in increased levels of gum disease.
Please contact our office for a periodontal evaluation.